Death is inevitable. We will all die or will lose someone near and dear at some point in our lives, yet our intrinsic self-preservation psyche is so hard-coded we convince ourselves either that it will “never happen to me” or we simply brush our fears aside by “not thinking about it”. We’re mortal, yet we live like we’ll never die.
Are The Religious Less Afraid Of Death?
A recent survey conducted by the University of Oxford, on the co-relation between religiosity and the fear of death revealed that “Religious people are less afraid of death than nonreligious people. It may well be that atheism also provides comfort from death,” said Dr. Jonathan Jong, a Research Associate of the Institute of Cognitive and Evolutionary Anthropology who led this study.
The study revealed that it was the ones in the middle, who sought out religion for the emotional and psychological benefits rather than their intrinsic belief in God and the afterlife, are most likely to have a heightened fear of death.
Why Are You Afraid Of Dying?
Is it fear of the unknown, loss of control, the pain of being separated from your loved ones, not having finished what you set out to do? Or is it the fear of how you will die? The reasons could be many, based on our beliefs, interpretations and perceptions of our own identity and purpose here on earth.
So, how do we break these self-inflicted shackles, face our fears and set ourselves free to live a meaningful and fulfilling life while we’re still alive?
My mother, Millie Pereira lost her husband the love of her life more than 28 years ago, while she was in her forties, she brought us up, me and my two siblings single handedly.
As a counsellor and co-author of The Merry Tongue – A story of Love, Loss, Faith and Surrender, this is what she has to say to say on the subject of ‘Death’, and the ability to cope with the inevitable.
Does Death Frighten You?
1) Trust that the afterlife is far better than this limited one.
God wants the best for us and promises a communion with him. It is a peaceful everlasting, Eternity of unfailing love and eternal bliss. We will never feel like returning to our fallible bodies if we knew what awaits us as his faithful children.
2) Believe in God to provide the best for our loved ones.
We’re often fearful of what will happen to our loved ones when we’re gone. God reminds us in His words that if he takes care of the birds and animals, he will take care of his own children, much more – the ones he has carved in his own likeness.
3) Internalise that He has saved us from “Eternal Death”.
Believe that he has already died for our sins and has experienced the scary part of “Eternal Death” on our behalf. “Eternal Death” is where Hope dies forever for all eternity – shutting out from God. We all have a free choice to seek Him or close the door to the light. If we seek Him above all else – we will be in paradise forever just as he promised.
4) Value and cherish human life as it is short and precious.
Accomplish the callings of your heart, do what you love with passion, commitment and discipline, love the people in your life wholeheartedly and inspire others around you by your life and your deeds. Celebrate life. Live without regrets. Do what is needed at the right time staying practical, yet positive. A little foresight helps to assuage fears of worst-case scenarios.
5) Surrender to His will.
If we are able to completely surrender our will to His and die to our own desires, we will be able to live a life of grace, meaning and fulfillment. Staying with the truth of His Word, believing and actually inculcating what He says about us and the world around us will give us the discernment and perspective regarding this life and the one we will receive.
By Noella Menon